Category Archives: Book Previews

A quick look at what I’m reading.

Five Books Fifty Pages!

As you can probably guess my TBR Pile has actually grown so much that it is a living breathing sentient being and desires world domination…. but that’s another post entirely! This post is about how I was inspired by my friend The Little Red Reviewer to select five books from my TBR Pile, read the first fifty pages, and decide if I want to read them now, later, or never! Time to find out which books were YAY, which were NAY, and if any were MEH! The books I selected were:

Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Vorrh by B Catling

The Depths Of Time by Roger MacBride Allen

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell


Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller is interesting! I saw the cover and was immediately intrigued. A Crime Fiction that follows an older Korean War vet named Sheldon as his last surviving family member takes him away from NY to live in Norway. Sheldon is possibly suffering from dementia, he is xenophobic, he is combative, and he is out of his element. Yet he opens his door to help try to save a lady and her child from a violent crime which leads to an unexpected adventure. This book was really captivating. Sheldon isn’t a good person or a bad person; he just is a difficult person with uncomfortable views that have been negatively reinforced through the years, but he’s a person that you want to get to know and see how he might develop! Will I continue reading? Yes!

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is a book that I have wanted to read for ages! I’ve heard only good things and rave reviews for this book. I picked it up excitedly andddddd forced myself through 50 pages. There is a house that time travels and it has selected a killer to travel through time and it wants him to murder people? It’s an interesting premise but I’m not impressed with either execution of the premise or the characters. I sadly found the book quite off putting. Will I continue reading? No. 

The Vorrh by B Catling was a book that captivated me as soon as I saw the cover! It was a gift from my lovely wife, and I went in knowing that it’s an odd story, but I don’t think I was prepared for exactly how odd it was! This is one that needs to be a solo focused read. Will I continue reading? Not now, but one Winter I’ll read this odd book!

The Depths Of Time by Roger MacBride Allen is a SciFi that has to do with the spread of humanity through the galaxy via time travel through closely guarded worm holes. It starts with a grand premise and then quickly gets lost in the weeds. Way too many little details that slow down the story and make it an unappealing read for me. Will I continue reading? Nah. 

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell You should stop whatever you’re reading and get this book now! A near future SciFi in which we’ve discovered alien life, and while humanity is deciding how to approach and contact them: The Jesuits do what they’ve done throughout their history and send their own mission to make contact. This book is so smartly written! The characters are fully realized, the style of writing creates a mystery that draws you in, and the author’s writing is a joy to read! Will I continue reading? YES!


In the end: Yay, Meh, or Nah:

Norwegian By Night Yay!

The Shining Girls Nah!

The Vorrh Meh…

The Depths Of Time Nah!

The Sparrow YAYYYYY!!!! 

Have you read any of these? Would you Yay, Meh, or Nah any of these? Also: I’d love hearing from you if this post has inspired you to try the five books fifty pages method yourself! Let me know about the results!

Vintage SciFi Month Reading Plans!

If 2016 doesn’t kill me then I’m going to get to celebrate a new year an another #VintageSciFiMonth in January! I’m so excited. Vintage SciFi Month has become an important part of my reading schedule. What is it? Basically: In January we read SciFi or Fantasy books published prior to our birth year! Check out the founder LittleRedReviewer’s post on VintageSciFiMonth for more details! 

Now as to my reading plans for January:


DORSAI! By Gordon R Dickson is the first book of his incredible Childe Cycle and I’ve been working through this series each January! This will be a reread for me BECAUSE I’m reading it with some friends who are starting their own Vintage SciFi Month journeys! If you aren’t sure what to read for this month please consider reading this book with us!  You can purchase it here. If you want to see my review on DORSAI! you can find it here. I really enjoy this book which is why the next book on my list is….


Tactics Of Mistake also by GRD and also in the Childe Cycle! It is the fourth book in the series yet second chronologically. I’m excited to read this for the first time and discover more about this great universe. 


What would a Vintage SciFi Month be here at RedStarReviews if there wasn’t a little Frank Herbert? The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a collection of his Short Stories that I’ve been slowly working on and will continue with during this month!


Michael Moorcock’s book The Silver Warriors is Fantasy, but Fantasy is totally ok by the rules of Vintage SciFi Month! I loved reading the Elric Saga and I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for me!


Titan by John Varley was published in 1979 which is AFTER my birth year but it’s ok some rules can be bent AND the founder of the Month oks and books 1979 and prior so if your birth year is making it tough to find a SciFi book that interests you then open it up to 1979 and before! This whole month is supposed to be fun so feel free to have some fun!


Speaking of fun: I’ll be announcing a little Vintage SciFi Month giveaway here on my site on New Year’s Day! Stay tuned for details! Hope y’all have some excellent books picked out for the sixth annual Vintage SciFi Month! 

December Reading Plans! Attacking The Currently Reading Stack

This past February I decided to clean up my currently reading list. The goal was to finish the books I had started in 2015. It was a great goal yet it was a little ambitious for such a short month. So now I’ve decided to try something different and set December aside as the month to attack my currently reading stack!


This means I’ll attempt to work through these seven books in December! I fully expect to fall short and probably to start reading an extra book or two alongside these seven, but it’s nice to have goals! I figure that with December being such a busy month it is a better time to try and finish books I’ve already started rather than start new books. We’ll see how it goes!


Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the 24th book of the ongoing Horus Heresy series I love so much. Always good to have some GrimDark Military SciFi on hand!

The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a short story collection from the master of SciFi and a good way to prepare me for January’s Vintage SciFi Month!

Awakenings by Edward Lazellari is an Urban Fantasy that is starting off in a very kick ass grab your attention fashion. 


Gene Wolfe’s Book Of The New Sun series is a masterpiece of SciFi and I’m loving it. The goal is to complete the second book The Claw Of The Conciliator.  

Gail Z Martin’s War Of Shadows is the third book of her awesome Ascendent Kingdoms saga. Post magic apocalypitic fantasy? With good characters? Easy to enjoy!


These last two are the long reads that I doubt I’ll complete in December and expect to be reading into 2017. 

Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley is the second book of The Godless World trilogy and I couldn’t keep myself from starting it after I finished Winterbirth. 

House Of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski is off to a creepy start and I know this one will take me a while. 

So that’s my December Reading Plans! Finishing up 2016 and getting ready for new reads in 2017! 

November Reading Plans!

I’m not the most organized reader. However this year I’ve worked towards setting monthly goals and I’ve had fun with this! It’s helped me read a few books I would have missed out on while still allowing me to be distracted by something shiney when distraction is needed!


This month my goals are these five books, a few others on my kindle, of course some comic books, and then whatever shiney books come my way and demand attention!


Ship Of Fools by Richard Paul Russo is absolutely amazing! Yes I’ve already read it. This will be my first reread and I’ve got a few friends joining in for fun! I loved this Horror SciFi! It captures the anxiety terror of the original Alien film. It is about a generational ship that’s been lost in space for generations, but the passengers are about to learn they aren’t as alone as they’ve believed….


I started House Of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski in October with the goal of reading it all alongside some friends who were hosting a group read of it. I fell short of the goal but there’s no way I’m giving up on this amazingly creepy story!


How do you finish a never ending book series? By never stopping! Rolling on to Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden to continue seeing where The Horus Heresy takes me. I mean I already know where it goes, that’s not the surprise of this series, the surprise is in the journey! 


Time to finish Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley which I started back in 2014! So y’all have already heard me describe this awesome book. 200 pages left to read!


And introducing to my bookshelf and currently reading pile: Awakenings by Edward Lazellari! An Urban Fantasy with characters who have forgotten their pasts having to recover who they were to save not only their own lives but also the world! This book not only caught my eye but also the author’s twitter account did! This copy is a signed copy that was mailed to me for a read and review and I’m excited to tear into it. More on that in a future post!

There you have it! November’s reading goals! Feel free to join me in reading any of these or discuss them! Book talks are the best talks. Do you have any November reading goals? 

Halfway Through IT, Announcing October Reading Plans! (Here Be Unicorns)

So I am halfway through Stephen King’s masterpiece IT and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the first half of IT and announce my October Group Read as well! This way all who want to join have time to get ahold of a book for October! 


The first half of IT is not particularly scary to me as much as it is tragically sad to me! Why sad? Because if you were to eliminate the supernatural monster from IT you would still have the monsters of humanity rearing their ugly heads: racism, sexism, child abuse, bullying, spousal abuse, homophobia, hatred of the other, antisemitism, manipulation, so many ugly aspects of humanity that need to be changed. 

Also it is worth noting that the main reason IT seems so long is not due to SK’s over descriptiveness as much as IT really is six separate stories masterfully woven into one story. I think SK has a way of capturing the magical combination of whimsy and seriousness of childhood that is greater than any I’ve encountered. I’m looking forward to the rest of the book and hope all who joined me in #FallOfTheKing and #ImReadingIT have enjoyed their journey so far!


Announcing my October Reading Plan! Many of you already know and follow my friend MillieBotReads and if you don’t you should click that link and get to know her! She is a fan of Tanith Lee, so much so that I associate TL’s books with her! I’ve seen a lot of Tanith Lee’s works through my reading life but I haven’t ever read anything of hers that I know of. So MillieBotReads and I are going to host a #TanithLeeRead group read this October! 


To join in you simply need to get ahold of a Tanith Lee book and join us in reading it on October first! MillieBotReads and I will be specifically reading the first book of her Unicorn Trilogy: Black Unicorn, and using the hashtag #HereBeUnicorns for that trilogy in particular. However the #TanithLeeRead is open to ANY Tanith Lee book you choose to read. We think Black Unicorn is a good entry point into her work and if you can’t find it at a store or a library you can get it for your kindle HERE.


After reading an armbreaker like IT it will be nice to read a short 138 page fantasy novel. After seeing how I enjoy Black Unicorn I might continue on in the trilogy! I’m excited to start #TanithLeeReads and #HereBeUnicorns as this will also be a #FirstAuthorContact read for me! In looking at Tanith Lee’s BIOGRAPHY I find her to be an interesting person who refused to let adversity stop her from pursuing her dreams. I hope you’ll join in with us and pick up Black Unicorn or any other Tanith Lee book this October! 


I’ll post more about this again soon to remind everyone about this! I’m excited! Feel free to share this post and spread the word! 

An Excellent Tale In A Different World

Children Of The Different by S.C. Flynn is an excellent book! Set in a post apocalyptic Australia this story of twins being thrown into an adventure will draw you in right from the start and hold onto you until (and beyond) the ending. 
I was asked by the author to read and review this book prior to its upcoming release on September 10th and to give my honest opinion. Not only was I honored to do so, I was excited to do so once I read the description of the story. 

Nineteen years prior to the story a disease known as The Great Madness almost wiped humanity out, leaving few survivors spread out amongst the ruins of civilization. All children born since that day enter a trancelike state known as the Changeland and either emerge with strange new abilities or as dangerous killer Ferals. Our heroes are about to face the Changeland and have their lives forever altered by the dangers they encounter there. 


From start to finish Children Of The Different keeps you engaged and turning page after page as you follow the heroes on their adventures. The primary and secondary characters have depth and history to them. The story is well laid out, yet just when you think you’ve figured it all out the author masterfully throws in a good twist to the plot just to keep you guessing and moving along to the resolution at the end of it. 

I truly enjoyed this story and I hope to see these characters and this world again in another book soon! The concept of this story is so interesting that I want to read more about this new world. I do strongly recommend Children Of The Different to you, and look forward to hearing what you think of it! It is available for preorder before the 10th or order after the 10th here. Children Of The Different is a bright star in the sky that will light up your imagination. Enjoy! 

The Fall Of The King And I’m Reading It

Fall is almost upon us! Time for Football, Bonfires, Hot Chocolate, Cold Weather, Longer Nights, and Horror Stories!


Horror Stories? Yes! There is something about Fall and Winter that lends itself to scary tales and no one tells them better than Stephen King. That’s why on Labor Day I’ll be picking up and reading IT by Stephen King, and I want you to join in!


However I know many of you have already read IT so while I’ll be reading IT I’m inviting you to pick up any Stephen King book and join in on the fun! Several will be joining me in reading IT for the first time while others will be picking up that Stephen King book that has been staring at them on their bookshelf for ages. 


We’ll be using the hashtags #FallOfTheKing for the overall read and #ImReadingIT for any specifically reading IT. Group reads with RedStarReviews are very laid back. There aren’t any chapter date goals or anything like that. I know many of you have reading obligations already. Read at your own pace and have fun. I hope you join! I’ll be starting IT on Labor Day (this Monday) morning!